Hong Kong is facing Latvia in a World Group II first round tie at Victoria Park Centre Court from 16-17 September. Teenager Coleman Wong will once again lead the line charge alongside eighth-year stalwart Jack Wong, while opposing No. 1 Robert Strombachs heads a side that is without their recently retired all-time great, former world No. 10, Ernests Gulbis. Play will commence at 12 noon local time on both days and admission is open to the public.
HKCTA President, Philip Mok, remarked: “It’s great that we finally get to play at home. We haven’t hosted a Davis Cup tie since 2019, so this is another opportunity for the fans to come out and show their support for Hong Kong tennis, rally round the team. On paper, Latvia might be the stronger side, as both their No. 1 singles and doubles players are ranked higher, but the beauty of the Davis Cup is that inspirational performances can overcome any odds. Hopefully, there’s going to be a big turnout.”
HKG: Coleman Wong, Jack Wong, Roger Ng, Sunny Yue, Dasson Chan, and Yu Hiu Tung (Captain)
LAT: Robert Strombachs, Martins Rocens, Mikelis Libietis, Daniels Tens, and Deniss Pavlovs (Captain)
The side to emerge victorious from this encounter will join the other 11 first round winners in the 2024 Davis Cup World Group I Play-offs, whereas the defeated from this tie will compete in the 2024 World Group II Play-offs.
Nineteen-year-old Coleman Wong, who was defeated by Jason Jung (TPE) in his debut at Victoria Park in 2019, will be seeking his first win on home soil after all seven of his subsequent singles victories have come in away ties against Malaysia, Kuwait, Jordan, Benin, Chinese Taipei, and Venezuela. He is currently ranked No. 536, just five spots off his career-high, after he won the Tunisia F29 in Monastir this June to become the first player from Hong Kong to capture a men’s singles Futures title.
Since making his debut in 2015, Jack Wong has played sixteen ties and accumulated eight years of representation for Hong Kong. He has a win-loss record of 7-6 in singles and 7-1 in doubles. The Coleman Wong-Jack Wong doubles combination is undefeated at 3-0 thus far.
Opposing number one, Robert Strombachs, a 6-foot-3 right-hander, has an ATP ranking of No. 398 in singles and No. 536 in doubles. He is the only player on the Latvian team that holds an ATP singles ranking. Mikelis Libietis is ranked at a career-high No. 141 in doubles following his triumphs at the Granby and Chicago Challengers this year. The 31-year-old was once ranked as high as No. 352 back in 2016, but he has only played one singles match in the last six years.
Earlier in this year’s World Group II Play-offs, players from Hong Kong had to board three separate flights to make their way to Puerto Cabello in order to secure a 3-1 victory against Venezuela in front of a partisan crowd. Coleman Wong claimed both his singles and partnered Jack Wong for the crucial doubles to become the first player to take three live rubbers in a Group II tie since the late Martin Sayer most recently achieved the feat against Sri Lanka in Colombo in 2010.
Latvia was 2-0 up against Israel at home in the World Group I Play-offs in February with Ernests Gulbis playing for the last time before retiring from the sport. However, his pairing with 20-year-old Karlis Ozolins was unable to clinch the tie in the doubles, and the Israelis came back to take both reverse singles to win 3-2. Strombachs, then ranked No. 486, went down against No. 476 Yshai Oliel 6-1 6-4 before former NCAA No. 1 Daniel Cukierman came from a set down to beat Ozolins to seal the tie.
Hong Kong has not hosted a Davis Cup tie since the 4-0 Group II first round defeat against Chinese Taipei in September 2019 when Coleman Wong made his debut to become the youngest representative for the SAR at 15 Years and 100 Days old. The team’s last Davis Cup victory on home soil came courtesy of the 4-0 win against Iran at Victoria Park Centre Court in February 2018. Jack Wong is the only player remaining from that side who is currently still active.
The Davis Cup, first played in 1900, is the largest annual men’s team tennis event in the world, with 155 nations entering in 2023.
Hong Kong’s best Davis Cup performance came in the late 1980s and early 1990s when the team reached the Asia/Oceania Group II Final four times between 1988-1992, and earning promotion to Group I in 1988 and 1992. Colin Grant was the only representative to play singles in both Group II Final victories against Pakistan in 1988 and Thailand in 1992.
First year played 1970
Most total wins Mark Bailey (29-16)
Most singles wins Mark Bailey (17-13), Colin Grant (17-15)
Most doubles wins Mark Bailey (12-3)
Most years played Mark Bailey (11), Yu Hiu Tung (11)
Most ties played Yu Hiu Tung (24)